At the 2019 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, 244 dogs will compete to be the top dog in Obedience. Of those dogs, 71 are seniors (seven and older). And of those 71, only one dog is in her teens.
Daisy isn’t your typical teenage dog. The 13-year-old Border Collie is competing alongside her owner, Lou Scrimale, in her first AKC National Championship as the oldest dog in the AKC Obedience Classic. At an age where most dogs have long retired, Lou says Daisy still moves like a four-year-old.
“When the dog reaches a certain age, the handler simply decides, based on age alone, to stop showing their dog in Agility or Obedience,” Lou says. “I even thought that with Daisy, when she reached the age of 11.”
But at 11, Daisy was far from done with dog sports. “Daisy didn’t know she was 11 years old,” Lou says. “She still thought she was four.”
Older or Wiser?
Lou admits it is he who is getting (and feeling) older. He says Daisy would have happily continued in Agility this year, but he didn’t have the time or energy to do both sports. So he focused on Obedience.
Lou attended his first basic obedience class in 1984 with his grandmother’s Collie named Prince. After progressing through all the classes, the Syracuse Obedience Training Club introduced him to the sport of AKC Obedience.
“Prince earned a UD in 1990,” Lou says. “I was hooked from that point on. I still love to show in Obedience, even though Agility is a blast. I will always have a love for both venues. And I will always try to obtain titles from both Agility and Obedience, with all my future dogs.”
Daisy was Lou’s second Border Collie — a rescue dog he got when she was just seven months old. Daisy started showing in Agilty in 2010, at age four. By 2015, she earned her MACH, by 2018 she earned a MACH2, and in 2017, she qualified for and competed in the AKC National Agility Championship at age 10. She started in Obedience in June 2017.
The Opportunity of a Lifetime
“Everyone is surprised when I reveal Daisy’s age,” Lou says. “In Agility, she ran and showed like a younger dog. Her speed, which was fast, didn’t change much in her later years. Showing her in Obedience, everyone is so amazed at her age. She still works like a young dog.”
Every day in the ring, Lou says he appreciates that he is able to keep showing Daisy. “I am very lucky, to have a very healthy, older dog,” he says. “Training and showing Daisy in Obedience competition, in my opinion, helps to keep her healthy, active, and alert.” Lou says Daisy competes about two weeks a month and trains four to five times a week. Even as she gets older, she continues to improve and her health remains great.
Lou tried to enter Daisy for the AKC National Championship last year, but it was too soon and they were not able to qualify. “I thought that was it for the AKC National Championship. But, Daisy wasn’t ready to retire yet. So, here we are preparing for the National, Lou says. “Competing with Daisy, at the age of 13.5 years old, in the Obedience Utility class, at the National level, at the AKC National Championship, is a dream. I never would have thought we would have this opportunity.”